News & Analysis

Committee Report: Relevant backup fantasy RBs heading into Week 11

Oct 15, 2017; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins running back Samaje Perine (32) dives in to score a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Staying on top of fluid backfield situations from week to week for all 32 teams is quite the tedious task, even for fantasy diehards. To help with your fantasy preparations, my weekly RB Committee Report is intended to be your one-stop shop for tracking each and every fantasy backfield. Each week, we’ll go around the league to hone in on who’s trending up or down in terms of workload distribution and volume, as well as efficiency, in order to pinpoint which backs are making the most (and least) of their opportunities.

STOCK UP WK 10 RB SNAPS % / SEASON % STOCK DOWN WK 10 RB SNAPS % / SEASON %
Tevin Coleman 67.7 / 40.7 Alex Collins 38.2 / 27.8
Jamaal Williams 53.0 / 16.7 Lamar Miller 58.6 / 74.0
Chris Thompson 60.0 / 54.5 Kareem Hunt *54.5 / 68.3
Isaiah Crowell 45.0 / 50.9 Matt Forte DNP / 49.9
Orleans Darkwa 39.4 / 32.2 Doug Martin 50.7 / 48.4

*Week 9

Arizona Cardinals

Fantasy Starter Backup to Know
Adrian Peterson Andre Ellington (PPR)

Adrian Peterson scored three fantasy points on 22 touches against the Seahawks last week, in a game that Arizona ran the ball just 32 percent of the time and generated -0.08 yards before contact. The short week warrants some of the blame, sure, but we now have two huge weeks mixed with two duds from Peterson with the Cardinals. While Peterson has averaged a whopping 24 rushes, he’s played 75 percent of the offensive snaps in the team’s two wins compared to only 48 percent in the two losses. Treat him as a game script-dependent RB2 and pounce when Arizona is favored to win, except for this week against Houston’s top-graded run defense.

Atlanta Falcons

Starter Backup to Own
Devonta Freeman Tevin Coleman

Devonta Freeman’s second concussion of the season opens the door for one of the truly elite handcuff options in Tevin Coleman, a capable receiving back who’s averaged 4.6 YPC in his three-year career. For those who have kept Coleman rostered, this is the opportunity for which you’ve been waiting. Coleman is on the RB1/RB2 fringe this week, although Seattle has allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing RBs and owns PFF’s ninth-best run-defense grade.

Baltimore Ravens

Starter Backup to Own
Alex Collins Danny Woodhead (PPR)

The Ravens come off their bye to face a Packers defense graded third-best against the run by our analysts. Coach John Harbaugh has been noncommittal on whether or not Danny Woodhead will play now that he’s eligible to return from IR. Woodhead caught 3-of-3 targets for 33 yards in the opener before getting hurt and would slot into Javorius Allen’s passing-down role. While Alex Collins ranks 10th out of 49 qualified RBs in elusive rating and is getting 5.6 YPC, he’s played only 28 percent of the offensive snaps and has gotten only three rushing attempts inside the 10 this season. Despite Collins’ production and tackle-breaking ability, his dozen carries per game are mostly hollow for fantasy purposes with no touchdowns to his credit.

Buffalo Bills

Starter Backup to Know
LeSean McCoy Mike Tolbert (12+)

Replacement-level backups

Carolina Panthers

Starter Backup to Know
Christian McCaffrey Jonathan Stewart (12+)

A week after Christian McCaffrey turned in one of the top overall RB grades and played a season-high 82 percent of the Panthers’ offensive snaps against Atlanta, he turned in his best fantasy outing of the season with two scores against Miami in Week 10. However, so did Jonathan Stewart, who hit the century mark for the first time with 110 yards on 17 carries.

Chicago Bears

Starter Backup to Know
Jordan Howard Benny Cunningham (PPR)

Benny Cunningham appears to have surpassed Tarik Cohen as the Bears’ passing-down back behind starter Jordan Howard. Cunningham played 28 snaps to Cohen’s 13 in a game that Chicago trailed Green Bay throughout the second half.

Cincinnati Bengals

Starter Backup to Know
Joe Mixon Giovani Bernard (PPR)

If it weren’t for touchdowns in each of the last two games, Joe Mixon would be entirely off the fantasy radar. As it is, he ranks 46th among RBs in elusive rating and is seeing a meager 0.80 yards before contact behind Cincinnati’s No. 29-graded run-blocking unit. Checking in at 34th among RBs in PPR points per game, Mixon is best left on fantasy benches until further notice.

Cleveland Browns

Starter Backup to Own
Isaiah Crowell Duke Johnson (PPR)

Isaiah Crowell was borderline droppable over the season’s first half, but he’s put together back-to-back strong outings with a combined 213 yards from scrimmage and two TDs. Crowell’s snap share has remained even in those two games — he’s simply been more productive. Still, he out-touched Duke Johnson by only a 17-16 margin at Detroit in Week 10, and Johnson nearly matched Crowell with 15 fantasy points of his own. On the season, Johnson sits 24th in per-game PPR scoring, while Crowell has climbed to 30th.

Dallas Cowboys

Starter Backup to Own
Alfred Morris Ezekiel Elliott

Tackle Tyron Smith is looking doubtful for this weekend’s divisional matchup with the Eagles, and he’s been the Cowboys best run blocker this season. His absence was felt Sunday against Atlanta, as the Cowboys were held to their lowest rushing total since Week 3 – granted, they trailed most of the way and wound up throwing it 71 percent of the time. Alfred Morris held an 11-7 edge in touches over Rod Smith and finished with 53 yards on 11 carries (4.8 YPC), forcing three missed tackles and averaging 4.5 yards after contact. Ultimately, even a healthy Smith might not matter all that much this week against the Eagles’ league-leading run defense that has allowed a mere 383 rushing yards to RBs this season, nearly 200 yards fewer than the next-closest team.

Denver Broncos

Starter Backup to Own
C.J. Anderson Devontae Booker

C.J. Anderson’s snap share continues to dip, and he’s eclipsed 10 carries in a game only once since Week 4. Devontae Booker and Jamaal Charles are combining to eat up more than half of the backfield snaps, sapping the fantasy value of all three. As such, Anderson has become merely an RB3, which should keep him out of starting lineups now that bye weeks are wrapping up.

Detroit Lions

Starter Backup to Know
Ameer Abdullah Theo Riddick (PPR)

Ameer Abdullah isn’t going to put up big yardage totals – the Lions still haven’t had a 100-yard rusher since 2013 – and he’s hardly involved in the passing game. Still, he had a pair of 15-plus-yard runs against Cleveland on Sunday and scored for the second straight week. While he’s been getting more work in the red zone of late, you’re basically relying on Abdullah to find the end zone in order to return starting value in fantasy lineups.

Green Bay Packers

Starter Backup to Own
Jamaal Williams Ty Montgomery

Even if Ty Montgomery (ribs) “has a chance” to play against Baltimore, at the end of the day he ranks among the least elusive backs in the league this season (45th) and has struggled to stand up to an increased workload. With Aaron Jones (MCL) also out of the picture, Jamaal Williams is in line for a featured role, a role he’s better suited for than Montgomery. What Williams lacks in pizzazz he makes up for in hard-nosed running between the tackles, earning the No. 5 run grade (and No. 2 blocking grade) in this year’s draft class out of BYU. Whereas Jones was getting about as many yards before contact (182) than after (188), Williams earned 53 of his 67 yards after contact in Week 10. If given the kind of daylight Jones was getting, it will be interesting to see what Williams can do with 20 touches.

Houston Texans

Starter Backup to Know
Lamar Miller D’Onta Foreman

D’Onta Foreman isn’t playing enough snaps (20.1 percent) to be on the fantasy radar quite yet, nor is Alfred Blue despite getting a couple of series to himself in the second half against the Rams. Still, Lamar Miller played a season-low 58.6 percent of the snaps in Week 10 and has not cracked 12 carries in either of the past two games, although he’s averaged 5.6 YPC in that span. With Miller sporting the third-lowest elusive rating on the season, it’s quite possible the Texans deploy a three-man committee moving forward. With the fantasy trade deadline fast approaching, consider taking what you can get in return for Miller.

Indianapolis Colts

Starter Backup to Own
Frank Gore Marlon Mack

Frank Gore gets what is blocked, and much to the dismay of Marlon Mack owners, Gore isn’t going anywhere. Mack may be averaging just 3.7 YPC himself, but 3.2 yards of that average has come after contact as he ranks eighth in elusive rating this season. Among RBs with at least 50 carries, none has been given less room before contact than Mack (0.60). You likely won’t fetch much for him in trade, and Gore hasn’t missed a game since 2010. Still, Mack has been more involved than Gore near the goal line in addition to stepping into Robert Turbin’s pass-catching role. Most tantalizing is that he carries RB1 potential – someday.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Starter Backup to Know
Leonard Fournette T.J. Yeldon (12+)

After piling up 311 yards and three scores on the ground over his previous two games, on Sunday Leonard Fournette failed to reach double-digit fantasy points (standard scoring) for the first time all season – the last non-QB to do so. We can simply chalk it up as an off day, as Fournette’s 19 touches were still nearly double that of T.J. Yeldon (nine) and Chris Ivory (two) combined.

Kansas City Chiefs

Starter Backup to Know
Kareem Hunt Charcandrick West (12+)

The Chiefs come off their bye week to face the Giants, and Kareem Hunt remains in search of his first touchdown since Week 3. Perhaps he had hit the rookie wall and will emerge recharged for a big stretch run after averaging just 3.4 YPC over his past five games. In any case, Hunt played a season-low 54 percent of the offensive snaps against Dallas in Week 9 and saw only nine carries for the second time in four games.

Los Angeles Chargers

Starter Backup to Know
Melvin Gordon Austin Ekeler (12+)

I’ve gotten quite a few questions on Twitter this week from fantasy owners wondering about trading Melvin Gordon. Never mind that Austin Ekeler saw 15 touches in Week 10, Gordon’s upcoming schedule is perhaps the most fantasy-friendly of any RB.

Los Angeles Rams

Starter Backup to Know
Todd Gurley Lance Dunbar (12+)

Replacement-level backups

Miami Dolphins

Starter Backup to Know
Kenyan Drake Damien Williams (PPR)

Kenyan Drake has averaged only eight carries in the two games since Jay Ajayi’s departure, but he’s produced 151 yards and a score on those opportunities and should be in line for a bigger piece of the pie moving forward as an RB2. In contrast, Damien Williams has also averaged eight carries over the last two games but has only 33 yards. Williams butters his bread on third down but need not be on fantasy rosters at this point.

Minnesota Vikings

Starter Backup to Own
Jerick McKinnon Latavius Murray (12+)

Coming off a bye with 20-plus PPR points in three of four outings, Jerick McKinnon saw only 12 touches against Washington in a game in which Minnesota had a 50-50 run-pass split. Latavius Murray turned his 17 carries into 68 yards plus a TD and is averaging 16 carries over the past five games. It’s not clear what, exactly, the Vikings see in Murray, who ranks 42nd in elusive rating (compared to 21st for McKinnon), but both backs are merely choking one another’s fantasy value right now.

New England Patriots

Starter Backup to Own
Dion Lewis Rex Burkhead (PPR)

With Mike Gillislee given his walking papers (or at least his sitting-on-the-bench papers), Rex Burkhead led the Patriots backfield with 36 snaps at Denver in Week 10, followed by Dion Lewis with 21 and James White with 11. It signaled yet another shakeup on Bill Belichick’s depth chart as Burkhead played a season-high 51.4 percent of the offensive snaps. With a pretty even 57-43 pass-run split in a lopsided New England win, Lewis still wound up out-touching Burkhead, 14-13 while White saw only five touches. The Patriots threw the ball on their only two plays inside the five, so it remains to be seen how things will play out there in place of Gillislee, who was among the league leaders with 15 carries inside the 10 this season. If Burkhead gets those opportunities, it would vault him to the top of the fantasy pecking order given his pass-catching chops.

New Orleans Saints

Starter Backup to Own
Mark Ingram Alvin Kamara (PPR)

Go figure that all New Orleans had to do was cut ties with Adrian Peterson in order to unveil the most dominant backfield in the league this season. In fact, they were the league’s top-two-graded RBs in Week 10, with Mark Ingram turning 21 carries into 31 PPR points and Alvin Kamara posting 25 points on 17 touches. While it would be lofty to expect those kinds of numbers week in and week out, the duo has combined for 1,654 yards from scrimmage and 13 scores, tops among all backfield tandems through 10 weeks. Ingram is currently the RB7 and Kamara the RB9 in per-game scoring this season. One final note: Kamara ranks third in elusive rating, but he’s also averaging more yards before contact (3.1) than every other back in the league. Sean Payton and his staff have done a nice job getting him the ball in space.

New York Giants

Starter Backup to Know
Orleans Darkwa Wayne Gallman

Orleans Darkwa is giving Alex Collins a run for the title of “Quietest to Average 5.0 YPC.” Darkwa doesn’t force many missed tackles, but he does sit in the top-five in yards after contact (3.4). He’s still outside the top-40 RBs in PPR scoring, although the good news is he’s logged 15-plus touches in three of the last four games. Ultimately, with only one TD on the season, he’s just not moving the needle much in fantasy.

New York Jets

Starter Backup to Own
Matt Forte Bilal Powell

The Jets head into their bye with concerns about Matt Forte’s swelling knee having gotten significantly worse. The bummer is that Forte looked to be on his way to taking control in the Jets backfield. If the knee doesn’t improve, Bilal Powell would vault right into RB2 territory and Elijah McGuire would also carry some weekly appeal. Those two split the workload right down essentially split the workload right down the middle (McGuire held a 36-33 edge in snaps and a 12-11 edge in touches) but neither cracked 10 fantasy points at Tampa Bay on Sunday. McGuire saw more snaps and carries than Powell the previous week.

Oakland Raiders

Starter Backup to Own
Marshawn Lynch Jalen Richard (12+)

Coming off his best fantasy output of the season, 31-year-old Marshawn Lynch got a chance to recharge his legs during Oakland’s Week 10 bye. Lynch was averaging only 10 carries per game heading into Week 9, but he’s making a case for more work. Since Week 5, Lynch is getting 4.5 YPC and has assumed his usual mantle among the league leaders in elusive rating, averaging 3.1 yards after contact and a missed tackle every 4.8 rushes.

Philadelphia Eagles

Starter Backup to Own
Jay Ajayi LeGarrette Blount

Jay Ajayi had a chance to get caught up with the Eagles’ playbook during the team’s Week 10 bye, and offensive coordinator Frank Reich said he’s comfortable with Ajayi handling any play in this week’s game plan. With the Dolphins, Jay Ajayi sported one of the league’s lowest averages before contact (0.60), but on one of his first opportunities with the Eagles in Week 9, he waltzed through a gaping hole for a 46-yard touchdown virtually untouched. LeGarrette Blount and Corey Clement (two TDs) also found plenty of room to run against Denver, and both have been plenty productive.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Starter Backup to Own
Le’Veon Bell James Conner

Le’Veon Bell continues to pace all RBs in snaps. For those with a roster spot to spare, Bell has played just one 16-game season in his four-year career. Rookie James Conner (5.3 YPC) would be a plug-and-play RB2 if Bell were to miss time for any reason.

San Francisco 49ers

Starter Backup to Own
Carlos Hyde Matt Breida

Matt Breida had a season-best 55 rushing yards on nine carries, much of which came on a 33-yard TD scamper in the fourth quarter. He saw only 17 snaps, compared to 46 for starter Carlos Hyde, who averaged 5.8 yards on 17 carries and gained 84 of his 98 rushing yards after contact. Hyde trails only Le’Veon Bell in snaps played among running backs this season.

Seattle Seahawks

Starter Backup to Know
Thomas Rawls J.D. McKissic (PPR)

In terms of clarity, Thomas Rawls is currently the last man standing from the four-man committee the Seahawks opened the season with. The bad news is he’s averaging a paltry 2.6 YPC and has yet to run for 40 yards in a game. Continue to treat this backfield like it doesn’t even exist in fantasy.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Starter Backup to Know
Doug Martin Peyton Barber

Doug Martin did look awfully sharp in his first game back from suspension in Week 5. But since then, he’s averaged only 2.9 YPC and has fallen to 48th out of 49 RBs in elusive rating, having forced only five missed tackles on 93 rushes. Martin does have a nice matchup against Miami this week, and he’s not exactly being pushed by anyone in the Bucs’ backfield. But unless you’re desperate, it’s best to take a wait-and-see approach given his prolonged struggles.

Tennessee Titans

Starter Backup to Own
DeMarco Murray Derrick Henry

DeMarco Murray’s super-inflated fantasy line was buoyed by three touchdowns, as he averaged just 3.0 YPC and got only three more carries than Derrick Henry, who turned his 11 totes into 57 yards and averaged more yards after contact (3.7) than Murray averaged altogether. Henry continues to look like the superior back.

Washington Redskins

Starter Backup to Own
Chris Thompson (PPR) Samaje Perine

With Robert Kelley landing on IR, Samaje Perine is in line for significant volume on early downs while the dynamic Chris Thompson will also get a chance to handle a bigger workload. Perine is worth a speculative add but shouldn’t be in lineups quite yet, as he sits 41st in elusive rating and has forced a missed tackle just once every 11 carries. Thompson remains the back to own.

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